Fantasy Football vs Sports Betting: Which should you choose?

fantasy football vs sport betting

Fantasy football and sports betting are popular among many football enthusiasts as they both involve “predicting” the future. Both have a lot in common but both are different in some areas.

In this article, we will look closely at the differences and similarities between fantasy football and betting.

Similarities between fantasy football and sports betting

Firstly, let’s look at similarities.

Both results in fantasy football and results in betting are dependent on the result of real matches.

Some say that betting is a game of chance while fantasy is a game of skills. I would say that they involve both. As in betting, also in fantasy you need to follow the games/league(s), and watch the stats and analyses to increase your chances of winning. Definitely, both games involve a certain dose of luck needed to succeed.

Both can be addictive but that addiction within the sports betting can cause some consequences compared to fantasy games.

Similarly, both can have an impact on mental health when a player’s fantasy team or bets do not go well.

Read more in our article: Is Fantasy Football Gambling?

Diferences between fantasy football and sports betting

The main difference is that in betting you put money at stake while fantasy games are free to play (apart from some that are not, you should avoid them).

Also, if bookmakers have their odds set up correctly, it is impossible to win money in betting in a long run because of The Law of Large Numbers. Bookies use margins on odds, so you can not really win unless they make mistakes and do not get the odds right.

Read more: Fair odds calculator.

So the only way, how you can succeed in betting and win money, is to use the advantage of incorrect odds through value betting or arbitrage betting. However, bookies use advanced mathematical modelling to get the odds as right as possible.

Also, when playing fantasy football you compete against millions of other fantasy managers who are people like you. However, when betting, you bet against a bookmaker who has odds (because of margin and mathematical modelling) inclined in his favor.

Due to the margin, bookies odds are “unfair”. Betting is not a zero-sum game because for every $1000 bet, the average payout over the long run is around $950 for most bets. The rest is bookies profits from margin.

The house always wins in a long run.

So, you will not win when betting. But when you play fantasy you can beat your rivals.

Also, sports betting is not legal in all states around the world.


The long story short when comparing fantasy football to sports betting – play fantasy, such as Fantasy Premier League or Fantasy Champions League! Yes, you may not win money but you will not lose some too, plus fantasy is more exciting when you believe in your players and team. 🙂

Matej Šuľan

Fantasy Football enthusiast with two top 1k finishes in FPL. Best FPL overall rank: 119th in 2019/20 season. Five top 500 finishes in UCL Fantasy, best overall rank: 23rd in 2018/19 season. Founder of Fantasy Football Reports.

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